HARPERS FERRY NATIONAL HISTORICAL PARK
special boundary study
june 1989 newsletter
United States Depar 1i
HARPERS FERRY NATIO
Dear Public Officials
Civil War Enthusiasts
Park and Rural Landscape Preservationists
The National Park Service welcomes your participa
Harpers Ferry National Historical Park and the la
leads to perpetuating the rural setting surrounding
traffic gridlock, and the disappearance of a quality <
The future is now. Its consequences will be brougl
determine if the educational, recreational, inspirati
into the 21st century. Change is inevitable; there
boundary study will be completed by December of 11
DnrmlHW f!«mnhpll /
ent of the Interior
i HISTORICAL PARK
1 in this special boundary study.
adjacent to it are at a crossroads. One road
> park. The other road leads to urban sprawl,
fe that people have come to enjoy at Harpers
lto focus by this study. The road taken will
I, and tourism values of the park will endure
lain only choices. It is anticipated that the
In 1988, Congress authorized a special boundary study to address
land issues brought about by increasing suburban sprawl
adjacent to Harpers Ferry National Historical Park. The purpose
of the boundary study is to analyze significant historic and scenic
lands that are integral to the park and to identify methods for
protecting those lands.
In February 1989 the National Park Service assigned a team of
planners to begin work on the boundary study. As a first step in
planning, the team held a public workshop on March 11 in
Leetown, West Virginia, to gather ideas and opinions.
Approximately 40 people attended the workshop, and more than
50 letters were submitted during the subsequent comment period.
Public comments, which are summarized at the end of the
newsletter, focused on the scope of the study and what methods
should be used to protect significant lands and resources. Based
on those comments, the team has identified major issues, study
areas, and land protection options to be considered in the
boundary study. In the coming months this information will be
used to develop strategies to protect lands within the study areas.
All actions will be in conformance with the National
Environmental Policy Act and the National Historic Preservation
Looking east from School House Ridge
visitation is approaching 1 million and is expected to continue to
rise through the next century. Population growth and the influx
of tourists have resulted in significant traffic increases. Heavy
traffic on Route 340 has required a bypass, now under
construction around Charles Town.
In 1988 Jefferson County officials recognized this population
explosion and enacted a zoning ordinance - the first in West
Virginia. The ordinance defines residential and commercial
growth areas in the county, but it is economically based and fails
to distinguish between the lands that were significant in Harpers
Ferry's history and other lands in the county.
The national historical park is at a crossroads. The knowledge
and inspiration it provides to visitors, the positive image it brings
to the tri-state region, and the significant role it plays in the
regional tourism economy can no longer be taken for granted.
Difficult decisions about the park's future lie ahead. When the
special boundary study is completed, it will help guide those
decisions and shape the park as it moves into the 21st century.
SIEGE OF HARPERS FERRY
SILVER GROVE |,
_ _ HARPERS FERRY NATIONAL HISTORICAL PARK
1/4 1/2 MILE NORTH
LAND PROTECTION METHODS
The legislation that authorized the Harpers Ferry special
boundary study recommended the use of both nonfederal and
federal methods to protect nationally significant historic and
scenic lands in and near Harpers Ferry. A wide variety of
protection methods will be considered in this study, including the
• purchase by land trusts and private not-for-profit
• zoning to protect from incompatible development
• tax incentives for landowners
• private ownership protection
• scenic or agricultural easements (the federal government
acquires specified rights to the land, but the land remains in
• purchase by the federal government and sell back to the
private individual with restrictions attached to the deed
• lease of land to the federal government (the land remains in
• lease back (the federal government acquires the land and
leases it to the private individual)
• cooperative agreements with landowners
• fee acquisition of the land for inclusion within the park
COMMENTS FROM THE MARCH 11, 1989, WORKSHOP
A public workshop was held on March 11, 1989, to begin the
planning process. Following an introduction by Superintendent
Campbell and a slide presentation on the two initial study areas,
the 40+ participants separated into six work groups to discuss
issues and concerns relating to land areas adjacent to the park.
The discussions focused on the School House Ridge battlefield
area and the downriver viewshed from Jefferson Rock, but other
areas deserving study were identified during the workshop and
in subsequent letters. Each work group prepared a list of
concerns, which were then presented to all participants.
Comments and concerns generally fell into three broad
Protection of the historical and scenic qualities of the study areas
was seen as a positive action. Comments included the following:
Zoning can protect but it is not permanent.
Consider cooperative agreements.
Easements are not usually enforced.
Existing owners should be protected (i.e., lifetime tenancy).
The study areas are worth saving.
Deal with the old orchard site immediately.
Encourage new zoning categories to protect the land.
Consider lease purchase.
Consider fee purchase.
Consider controlled development (deed covenants).
Consider buffer zones.
Consider scenic easements.
Begin the application process for landmark status.
Local organizations should advocate preservation.
National support is needed.
The next step in planning for the boundary study is to evaluate
the importance of the study areas and suggest alternatives for
their protection. We hope to complete this work and have a draft
document ready for review by the fall of this year. As the study
progresses, we will keep you informed through press releases and
public meetings and will provide opportunities for you to
Following is a schedule of study tasks:
Draft study to public
Close of comments on draft study
Final study to public
We plan to meet with individual landowners in the study areas
this summer to review the study and discuss protection options.
Meetings can be arranged by contacting park resource
management specialist Bill Hebb at (304) 535-6371, ext. 6338. A
park representative will meet privately with you.
Thank you for your interest in this project. Your continued
involvement in the study effort is important to its success. If you
have any additional comments, please send them to
Superintendent Donald W. Campbell
Harpers Ferry National Historical Park
P.O. Box 65
Harpers Ferry, West Virginia 25425
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